Tag Archives: acceptance

Of Autism and Employment – Preparing Your Child For Life

Photo Credits: Deal With Autism
Photo Credits: Deal With Autism

It is without any hint of doubt that finding employment nowadays can be an overwhelming task and, so much more so, when you have autism. Social acceptance has long been an issue with autism. Embarking on a career while carrying such stigma will definitely put your child’s chances of finding what suits him best — as well as one that will help develop his capabilities – in a backseat. Amid the many hindrances, however, it is important to take note that many companies these days are finding “gold” among those in the spectrum. To give your child a competitive advantage, here are some tips that may come handy to his career-building path.

Train While Young

Transitioning to adulthood can invoke both fear and uncertainty among parents to teens with autism. You might be wondering whether he can manage without you or whether he can thrive in a workplace alongside “neurotypical” individuals, or whether he will be able to drive or live on his own. As such, it is imperative to start them while they are still young.

Start training your child the earliest time possible on how to live independently. As individuals with autism function distinctively and at different levels, you need to ensure that the degree of care and training allotted to him must be adequate to his level. Define his needs carefully with the aid of professionals and/or trained carers by painstakingly considering what makes him happy, by tapping his strengths and by identifying his weaknesses and finding what skills are needed to overcome them.

This is where creative thinking comes in—and you will need a lot of help to accomplish this. Plan carefully and find a suitable network or partner to undertake this lengthy and challenging process. Attend seminars, conferences, and trainings. This is also where you need to tweak your dreams for your child to best match what is deemed possible for his level of functioning.

Recognize Your Child’s Passion

Have this mindset — This. Is. Not. About. You.  You can’t force your son or daughter to be something that which he or she has no interest of. Some autistics love numbers and algorithms, computers, gadgets, and so on. Others lean on gardening, handiworks, community service—the list is endless. One thing for sure is that each child with autism has a certain eccentricity that is entirely his own.  From childhood to adolescence to adulthood, this passion will become evident and more reflective of his personality. Make sure to tap this passion and turn this into an opportunity for him to thrive on.

Reach Out

Once your child has successfully transitioned to adulthood, he might most likely encounter a blank wall. He might find employment disheartening as the number of opportunities is limited. Luckily, there are various job trainings for those with special needs nowadays which can help increase their chances of landing a job. Reach out to your community to find one for your child. There are also online resources which cater to people with disability in finding job trainings, placement, and pertinent services to assist them in their search for a thriving employment.

Giving your child a future amid his or her autism should not fall on other people’s laps. Do not let certain limitations hamper your desire to give him or her much brighter future. Some people, professionals even, may tell you otherwise but hey, miracles do happen if you pray and work had for it. Many companies have opened to the idea of autism in the workplace and this gives our children an opportunity that they shouldn’t miss.

When Autism Becomes You

When Autism Becomes You
John at 2

I believe there must be some truth to the adage “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”I believe many mothers and fathers out there are on the same page as I am when facing autism, a lifelong struggle. Hearing it for the first time felt like I am drowning in a bottomless pit. Was I scared? Confused? Angry? Yes, I was engulfed in so many emotions all at the same time. It was scary and heartbreaking to look at a cherubic 2-year old knowing that his whole life will be fraught with challenges and limitations—and knowing that you can only do so much.

Fifteen years ago, I had my youngest son diagnosed with Autism. It rendered me speechless. Having survived my eldest son’s Tourette’s and ADHD, I really thought nothing will ever shake my world again. But after John’s autism diagnosis, I caught myself in the midst of a seismic shift that will forever alter my perspective about motherhood and life in general.

My first instinct was to look up the disorder in the library. But books about autism fifteen years ago are scant, if not limited. Autism is a hush-hush subject and many families who are in the midst of such a turmoil often caught themselves off-guard. Like me, they were also in a quandary on what to do, where to go and how to start anew. Along with the interest of learning about autism is that undeniable feeling of helplessness wherein you felt like screaming “go away!”

Frankly, the easiest recourse was to wallow in sadness. It has no known cure or cause after all. It was as vague as the issue of alien sightings. There is no definite answer but only that this is going to create changes in your family. It will create a lot of pressure and bring out bucketful of tears. It can either break or make your bond stronger.

I was told that my Johnny, my sweet little boy, is going to grow up differently. That he will never live normally. At some point I loathe the word “normal” so much that I felt like pulling my hair each time someone points out that reality. It cannot be helped that there will always be some insensitive people who do not mind their tongues when talking to you. What hurts me the most was that they do not even show remorse when they label your kid—in your face!

But I refused to give in. After the shock of the diagnosis mellowed down, I began my journey as an advocate. I left my career path in the dental industry and become an activist for children with special needs. With the help of some community members undergoing the same journey as I do, we were able to champion the financial aid of $20,000 per year for all children diagnosed with autism in New Brunswick. I became the president of the Autism Society of New Brunswick and then, served as a director of Pee Wee Active Living (formally Junior Special Olympics, a program that kicked off in Hanwell).

I refused to give in further to the depressing thought of a disorder that has no cure and passed, via the Catholic Women’s League of Canada, a resolution that gave rise to the support of individuals with autism from the government. Resolution 04.08 was passed in the national arena on 2004 and had given a lot of assistance to autism families in need.

When Autism Becomes You - pamela and john

If there is one thing I have learned about my son’s autism (as well as my Joshua’s ADHD and Tourette’s), it is to have faith and letting that faith guide you to make positive changes not just in your life but in others as well. There is no one in this world who can advocate for a child than his or her own parents. To make things come full circle, however, you need to include others in your advocacy.

Indeed, autism is a road less travelled. The journey is fraught with difficulties, trials and tribulations. But these challenges should not be seen as hindrances. The only kryptonite that curtails your power to move and work around it is your own disposition in life. Have faith. Reach out to others. There is nothing more delightful than trudging an uphill climb with someone to hold your hands.

My son John during our recent cruising escapade

AUptimism In The Midst of Adversity

Autism In The Midst of Adversity
Photo Credits: http://www.wecarechildren.org/afsp


Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A ‘you can do it’ when things are tough. ~~ Helen Keller

There seems to be a lot going on in various autism communities and families around the globe. Some say it is due to reclassification, of late diagnoses, and of rising awareness to the disorder. In my humble opinion, however, the surrounding arguments are immaterial. The fact that there is shortage in autism services is a clear indication that this is growing and, up to this moment, has no known cure and no “absolute” therapy to manage it. Best of all, there is little, if not zero, services for adults on the spectrum.

My Johnny is going to be an adult pretty soon and, can no longer avail the free services allotted for him. He will no longer be on the list of “qualified” individuals but rather will be left in oblivion. He is well-protected because we, his family, are still here. What scares me most and, perhaps, many autism parents out there is what the future might bring. How will these kids fare when left alone in a world where acceptance is a long hurdle to achieve?

I have written before on how to prepare our children for a bleak adult future. I advocate on teaching them appropriate life skills and other needed abilities to ensure their future. But this is not easy hurdle to make especially for those who are in the lower end of the spectrum. This leaves many families in a quandary on what to do should their children will be left alone with no one to care for them—and I join them in this predicament.

Autism is a lifetime disorder. To some, it can be managed. To others, it takes all their strength and sanity just to get by each day. One thing, however, is for sure—it is here to stay and still has no known cure, or even an absolute cause. It is not a disease that one can simply operate upon. It cannot be removed like a tumor. It is what it is and, whether we, autism families, like it or not, it will continue to haunt our every waking moment. But this reality should not hinder our efforts to advocate for more autism awareness. Acceptance may sound like a long shot but, nothing could go wrong if we stay an optimist all throughout the ordeal.

Awareness and Acceptance – Why These Two Go Hand in Hand

There are quite aplenty of feedback that can be gathered nowadays pertaining to the recent World Autism Awareness Day.

Not everything is positive though as there are those who remains to be passive and nonchalant about the whole concept of Autism Spectrum Disorders, a range of complex neuro-developmental disorders characterized by communication difficulties, social impairments, and often restricted, stereotyped, and repetitive behavioral patterns. It is a joy to note though that public awareness is rising via this annual event.

Importance of Autism Awareness

But why raise awareness? You see, heightening the public’s level of understanding on the background and implications of Autism is the very gateway for people to understand what it is like to be living in the spectrum. It is not about telling people what to do but simply, in explaining to them the issues involving ASD and in disseminating useful information to guide them when interacting with an individual who has autism. Awareness, however, should be two-way—public awareness and self-awareness. Self-awareness occurs to both the individual with autism and to the individual’s understanding on how his/her actions or inactions affect another individual who is living autism day by day. General public awareness, on the other hand, tackles widespread acknowledgement and understanding of the issues revolving around autism on a societal level. Both levels of awareness are of utmost importance. By having a common understanding on what ASD is all about can lead to how individuals relate to it in their respective communities. Through autism awareness campaigns, a shared belief and values can become important issues in the community hence, ushering to a wider acceptance level.

Learn how to teach your community about Autism the positive way.

The Road to Autism Acceptance

In human psychology, acceptance is an individual’s assent to reality. It is the very recognition of autism in all its glory and flaws without protesting. It is important to note that up to this day, the road to autism acceptance is bumpy. A lot of controversies continually hound the realm of autism, from vaccines to therapies, treatments, researches, and what-have-you – and this virtually creates a tug-of-war from within hindering the very acceptance it hopes to pursue.

If only we can find that common ground about autism as it is, the level of awareness raised year after year could have pushed a higher level of public acceptance. Not only will this open huge opportunities on autism care, safety, and research but, also in encouraging individuals who are still in the dark to come forward and be heard. Without raising awareness, the drive for autism acceptance will prove to be futile – and vice-versa.

The Evolution of Autism—and Why Acceptance is of Utmost Importance

Long before Autism was named as it is by Leo Kanner, there were endless accounts of children (as well as adults) exhibiting symptoms of the disorder. They used to be tagged as “possessed by the devil” or as children born to “ice-cold” mothers. There was also a time that it was put under schizophrenia’s umbrella until Hans Asperger came along. Asperger’s Syndrome, however, is but the teeniest tip of the autism iceberg. Over the years, the spectrum of autism disorders has evolved far-and-wide leading to variations of medical and technological terms.

If we care to check autism and its symptoms, it is right to assume that it has been the same throughout history. It is only our perception of the disorder as well as the countless researches that have been published made us look at it as “evolving.” From the theory of genetics comes the unending debate on vaccines, environmental factors, vitamin deficiencies, and pregnancy complications as the likely causes of such. Studies on rats, horses, and what-have-we have also been discussed perfunctorily throughout the course of autism’s evolution. Of course, this also leads to numerous treatments and therapies, parents vs. doctors views, educational choices, discipline, and so on, and so forth. With the Internet’s open resource, it seems there is no end on this finger-pointing debacle.

Apart from learning the what-and-why’s of Autism, however, acceptance is the very key to open a door that will encapsulate all these so-called “discoveries.” Like all other disabilities, autism acceptance has a long way to go. With 1 in every 68 kids having the said disorder, an invisible mania has blanketed people across the globe. The fear is understandable knowing that there is no known cure, but can also be debilitating to families who are already living, as what others say, “the nightmare.” Well, we are not. The first few months (at times, years) can prove to be challenging. Like other’s lives, we also receive a lot of blessings and key learning. Pure gratitude and tolerance are just two virtues that autism brings. So is being able to embrace life’s intricacies.

Today, the endless debate on vaccines, therapies, and treatments are not helping either. For everyone to move forward, it is imperative that we accept autism’s full impact on affected people’s lives. Whether high or low functioning, autism cases are growing in numbers. Yes, finding the root cause is noble. For now, however, accepting these individuals as unique persons like atypical ones is more important. Lest you forget, AUTISM is not a disease. These kids and adults who live on the spectrum are different, but no less.